Hand-held metal detectors are to be carried in police cars across County Durham and Darlington to help officers with suspects who may be armed with a knife.

This week, the metal detectors have been distributed to police officers with Durham Constabulary to enhance their ability to target and seize concealed weapons.

With funding support from the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, the force’s prevention and problem-solving team purchased 32 hand-held metal detectors for police vehicles.

All Durham Roads and Armed Police (DRAP) cars are now equipped with these devices, marking a significant effort to ensure the safety of our communities and searches.

The deployment of metal-detecting wands serves as an additional layer of security, aiming to keep knives off our streets.

While the wands will not replace physical searches, they will function as a screening device during lawful and justified searches following an arrest.

Inspector Mike Sammut, the force lead for Operation Sceptre, emphasised the importance of tackling this issue head-on and said: “This strategic rollout reflects our commitment to addressing knife crime directly.

“Despite Durham Constabulary being in the bottom ten per cent of force areas in the country for knife crime, the initiative showcases a dedicated approach to maintaining community safety and preventing the proliferation of weapons across our county.”

Earlier this year The Northern Echo set up the North East Knife Crime Taskforce as part of its campaign to address the root causes of the problem following several fatal stabbings across the region.

Durham Constabulary is taking a proactive step in the fight against knife crime with the rollout of metal-detecting wands to coincide with national Operation Sceptre week.

The initiative co-ordinated by the National Police Chief’s Council across the UK, which brings together all 43 police forces and British Transport Police in a week of intensified action to tackle knife crime.

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Commissioner Allen said: “We are very fortunate that knife crime is relatively low throughout County Durham and Darlington.

“However, we are doing all we can to ensure our force area remains one of the lowest areas in the country for knife crime.

“These metal detectors will provide an additional layer of protection for our hard-working officers and is yet another step in eradicating knives from our streets.”